If you are thinking about having a portfolio career, the good news is as a mother you probably already have one, and if not you certainly have the skills to do it.

A Portfolio Career is, for me just a fancy way of saying people work on a set of different things to generate their livelihood. Women have been having portfolio careers since the invention of money, through raising a family whilst trading favours/earning additional money in any way possible.  The range of moving parts that mothers have to think of on any one day is huge, and we all have years of experience multi-tasking across different areas.  This makes the concept of managing a portfolio of work as easy as riding a bike.
As your kids grow the way you live your life has to grow too, and sometimes its hard to keep all the balls in the air. Whether you want to scale down to be there a bit more, or scale up because they need you less, thinking about the paid and unpaid work you do in terms of a portfolio can be a really helpful way of getting the right work life balance for you.

It should be pretty easy to divide the main things you do into separate 'project areas' or 'work streams'.   The first of these should always include Managing Home and Developing your Family.   This is really hard work, and although its unpaid, it does generate huge value, and I think its a mistake not include the work you do for 'Your Family' Ltd as part of your portfolio.

For example, I look at the first two parts of my portfolio as 1) developing the children and 2) managing home, then I have my paid work, 3) which is my consulting and coaching practice, then my writing 4) which supplements 3, and finally I have my voluntary work, which includes pro-bono coaching, advice and projects like MLB.    Each year I set clear objectives/ financial targets etc against each part of my portfolio, and try to ensure that I stay on track.

All these work streams combine together to form my job.   That way I can spend a couple of hours dealing with the washing, followed by a pro-bono coaching conversation, and still feel that I have done some good work before I pick the children up.  My working day starts at around 7 am, and ends at about 8.30 pm, but in that day I have done a variety of interesting and rewarding things (as well as the dreaded dishwasher and washing).

On a week where I have less paid work, I can focus on my writing, or on networking and marketing, which keeps future income going.  Alternatively I can crack on with re-decorating the living room (rather than paying someone to do it).

If you are interested in changing the balance of work in your portfolio - take a look at How to Have a Portfolio career, or 10 tips for a successful Portfolio Career on the MLB web site.